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Film Room: LSU 44, Eastern Michigan 22

Welcome to Film Room, our weekly analysis of LSU’s last football game. Have a seat. No talking. No tweeting. No texting. Pay attention.

(click photos to enlarge)

How They Happened (big-play analysis)

A good pull: On second-and-10 from the Eastern Michigan 21-yard line, LSU QB Brandon Harris kept the ball on a zone-read play and ran around left end for a 21-yard touchdown.

  • Harris is looking at the defensive tackle (yellow arrow) on the play. The tackle is let free by LG Maea Teuhema, who darts to block a linebacker. The tackle steps toward RB Leonard Fournette because he’s Leonard Fournette. This is a perfect example of how Fournette affects plays even when he doesn’t touch the ball. Harris makes a good decision by pulling the ball here.IMG_5866
  • There are three key blocks on this play, and each are circled in red. The circles from left to right are Jerald Hawkins, Teuehma and TE DeSean Smith. They sustain the blocks to spring Harris for the touchdown (black arrow).
  • The zone-read is becoming one of LSU’s favorite plays. After all, the two key pieces on the play are athletic speedy guys in Harris and Fournette. Each is dangerous on the ground. Also, the Tigers could pass out of the play. Maybe we see that at some point later: Harris keeping the ball and then tossing down field.

Quite a start: On first-and-10 from the LSU 25-yard line, Leonard Fournette ran 75 yards for a score on the very first play of the second half.

  • Hawkins had some bumps in Saturday’s game – that 15-yard penalty for continuing to play with his helmet off and the missed block that led to Harris’ interception. But, he excelled at times in the run game, and here’s another good example of it. Hawkins (red circle) walls off the edge, clearing Fournette a large lane for that scoring jaunt.


  • Hawkins’ block is great, but Fournette’s stiff arm to EMU DB Anthony Brown is a must on this play. You see Brown? He’s circled in yellow and is in perfect position to make a tackle. Fournette extends his arm, pushing away Brown and jetting down the sideline. That can be considered a broken tackle. Fournette had six broken tackles against the Eagles.
  • The last thing that must happen on this play: TE Colin Jeter’s downfield block of a defensive back (red blocking arrow). Jeter gets the final block to spring Fournette.

“That was awesome”: With 52 seconds left in the third quarter, Eastern Michigan converts on a 2-point conversion to pull within 30-22.


  • Dan Hawkins, the former Boise State coach turned ESPN color analyst blurts out, “That was awesome!” after this play. It’s Hawkins’ style of play – razzle dazzle, as some would say. Hawkins calls it a “direct snap, reverse, throwback to the quarterback.”
  • RB Darius Jackson aligns at quarterback. The quarterback, Brogan Roback, calls for the snap with a clap of his hands. He’s the black arrow. Slot receiver Eddie Daugherty (red arrow) races into the backfield to receive a flip from Jackson, who then tosses to a wide open Roback in the end zone.
  • Roback is really the key to the play. For about two seconds after the snap, he stays completely still while action is happening around him. Then he darts toward the left corner of the end zone, running by safety Jamal Adams. Video:

Pick 6: On third-and-11 from the 28-yard-line, EMU quarterback Roback, heavily pressured, throws into the hands of LB Deion Jones, who returns it for a score.

  • DE Arden Key and DT Davon Godchaux make this play happen. Key gets the pressure on Roback after a nice pass-rushing move with Godchaux. The two players have been a lethal pair this season, and they illustrate just why here. Key stunts inside (red arrow) while Godchaux pushes to the outside, taking two offensive linemen (black arrows) with him.


  • Here’s the video:

Position Analysis

Big Ugly Blips and Booms (O-line analysis)

  • The Booms were evenly spread throughout LSU’s entire offensive line. Remember, we chart each play and Booms are blocks that spring a successful running play. Important note for this entire blog: We stopped charting the game early in the fourth quarter, so must of this is the first three quarters only.
  • Will Clapp, Ethan Pocic and Maea Teuhema each had four Booms. For the most part, the group opened nice holes. LSU continues to use Clapp in a pulling manner and the Tigers continue to run behind him and Pocic more than anything else. RB Leonard Fournette, statistically, might have had the most success against EMU running to the left side behind Jerald Hawkins.
  • LSU finished with seven penalties for 51 yards, and it could have been so much more. For a second straight game, an LSU player continued to play after his helmet was knocked off. Hawkins did that against EMU, but the Eagles declined the 15-yard flag. Also, Teuhema was flagged for a false start.

  • Hawkins was responsible for LSU’s first turnover of the season. He eyed the outside linebacker on this play and was caught flat footed as Teuhema shoved his man into Hawkins.

Injury Watch: Teuhema went down in the third quarter, but it was nothing more than a cramp. He’s should be fine.

Monday Morning Quarterback (QB analysis)

  • Harris’ numbers were more woeful than he actually played (4 for 15). We charted four Misfires (errant throws) from Harris. Two to three more passes could have been placed better for the receivers, but the wideouts didn’t help out their quarterback very much in this one. We counted five dropped passes.
  • However, Harris still struggled, specifically with his reads. He missed open receivers, choosing to throw to covered guys. Fournette was wide open for a touchdown, and he instead threw to a covered Dupre. Here’s another example. Harris chunks one deep for Dural when Dupre (red circle) is wide open over the middle of the field. Dural has three defenders (black arrows) around him.



  • Random note: LSU was in the shotgun for for only about 10-13 snaps – the fewest amount this season. Again, that’s through the first three quarters.

Backing It Up (RB/FB analysis)

  • Fournette did Fournette things, as you’d expect. He broke six tackles. That gives him 27 broken tackles the last three weeks (14 against Auburn and 7 against Syracuse). Thing is, he ran for 233 yards and much of it came against a stacked box. And we do mean stacked. There were multiple times where EMU put 10 players in “the box,” the area within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage. Check it out here:


  • Fournette got 26 carries against the Eagles, and it wasn’t just because the game was close. OC Cam Cameron told the ESPNU TV crew before the game that coaches wanted to give Fournette his “usual” in carries, which is about “20-25,” said play-by-play man Alan Bestwick.
  • One thing Fournette did that he probably shouldn’t have? This:

Five-yard Out (WR analysis)

  • Bad day. Bad, bad day. And it probably incited this tweet Sunday from Malachi Dupre:

  • LSU had five drops: three from Dural (one of those was a shaky called PI), one from Tyron Johnson and one from Dupre. Two of the drops came in the end zone and a third could have turned into a score. Normally the Tigers most reliable receiver, Dural struggled. Harris and him couldn’t find a groove. Take for instance these three straight plays. The first is miscommunication on a route, second is a bad pass and the third: A drop, the worst of the day.

  • LSU receivers struggled to get separation all day and, at least three times, wideouts weren’t aggressive enough in catching passing. They sat back and waited for the ball to arrive. What happened? EMU players broke up the pass. It happened numerous occasions.

Front Seven (D-line/LB analysis)

  • LSU wanted so badly to use reserves against such a lowly foe. The Tigers wanted to test backups on the defensive line and linebacker spots. What happened? Bad stuff.
  1. EMU with Kendell Beckwith/Deion Jones on the field through the first three quarters: 25 plays, 37 yards.
  2. EMU without at least 1 of Beckwith or Deion on the field: 21 plays, 153 yards.
  3. EMU vs. LSU when Tigers had reserves in at both DT spots, 1 DE spot and both LB spots: 10 plays, 99 yards.
  • We all knew depth was an issue for this unit, and it really showed. Some reserves didn’t even get a crack at all or saw very little time. Deondre Clark saw very little snaps, and freshman Isaiah Washington got in the game in the first half for three plays and didn’t enter again – at least not over the first three quarters. The same goes for Quentin Thomas. He got his first playing time of the season early in the game and then did not re-enter.
  • The main reserves who played included LB Duke Riley and Donnie Alexander and DE Sione Teuhema and DTs Frank Herron and Greg Gilmore – both normal rotating reserves. Alexander saw the most playing time of his career, probably. Riley played a ton, as well, and he struggled. EMU had six plays of 15 yards or more without LSU starting LBs Jones and Beckwith on the field. One of them included this 30-yard completion, in which Riley releases his man in coverage:

  • With Tashawn Bower out, DE Seione Teuhema saw about 18-20 snaps over the first three quarters. He had a Pressure. LSU’s defensive line pecking order is pretty obvious. Teuhema is clearly the No. 4 DE. Isaiah Washington might be No. 5. Clark appears to be a distant No. 6.
  • Key had two Pressures, and Lewis Neal had three. A Pressure is any hurry of the quarterback, forcing him to pass or scramble.
  • The penalty bug bit the LSU offense against Syracuse. It got the defense against EMU. Linemen Key and Davon Godchaux and linebacker Kendell Beckwith all had off-sides penalties. Coaches were not happy with Key’s off-sides, and they pulled the freshman afterward for Teuhema:


  • Check this out. At least once, LSU put Godchaux at end and had Neal and Key on the other side of the line with LaCouture between them. Key is in a standing position – the Buck role that Beckwith normally plays in the Tigers’ Dime set, something we did not see against EMU (we’ll get to that later).


Break It Up (DB analysis)

  • For the first time all season, LSU played Ed Paris at cornerback – and it took Kevin Toliver getting his helmet knocked off to do it. A player must leave the game for one play when his helmet comes off. Paris entered for Toliver and played at least one other series.
  • LSU doesn’t sub much at all in the secondary. Safeties Rickey Jefferson and Jamal Adams play entire games. That goes for CB Tre White as well. Dwayne Thomas and Donte Jackson continue to rotate in at nickel back, and Toliver is the cornerback in the nickel.
  • For a second straight game, LSU did not use the six-defensive back Dime set, which includes the addition of safety Corey Thompson. That’s something to watch moving forward. LSU played the 4-3 defense about five times in the first three quarters and much of that was on the goal line, so, really, it was the goal line defense. The Tigers continue to employ the nickel as their base defense. They’re in it at least 90 percent of each game.
  • Random note: Cameron told the ESPNU crew that Jackson is the fastest player he’s seen since former Washington Redskins star Darrell Green, a seven-time Pro Bowl defensive back.
  • Rickey Jefferson’s coverage skills have not been smooth. He picked up a pass interference last week – an obvious call when he shoved the receiver. He does it again against EMU and gets away with it.

  • At least three times in the game, LSU brought a corner blitz. Here’s an example of one. Toliver gets a good Pressure on the QB with it, and Jones slides over in coverage.

‘We were advised to leave': South Carolina flooding affecting Gamecocks ahead of game against LSU

Flooding has hit South Carolina hard. (AP)

Flooding has hit South Carolina hard. (AP)

South Carolina coaches were working in the team’s football stadium studying film when they were told to leave Sunday morning.

Why? Flood waters.

“A lot of areas were being closed down,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said on a teleconference with reporters on Sunday.

The Gamecocks have much more to worry about than their 2-3 record or facing No. 7 LSU (4-0) on Saturday afternoon. As of Sunday afternoon, four people had died in the massive flooding in South Carolina.

A report from the Weather Channel called it possibly the worst flooding the state’s “ever seen.” Downtown Columbia, South Carolina – home to USC – has received more than 10 inches of rain since the event began Friday.

Spurrier said officials expect the flooding to recede in the next two days, and he doesn’t expect it to affect the team’s preparation for the LSU game, starting with Monday’s practice.

The game should not be affected, the coach indicated. The Tigers and Gamecocks meet at 11 a.m. CT Saturday. South Carolina announced Sunday that campus would be closed Monday.

Coaches arrived at Williams-Brice Stadium on Sunday morning to review game film. At about 10:30 p.m. CT, they were told to leave. The stadium is located near the Congaree River, which runs along side the campus and downtown Columbia.

“We were advised to leave the stadium and try to get home,” the coach said. “Most of the coaches … one or two defensive coaches were there when I left. They were advised to get out.”

Shawn Elliott, South Carolina’s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, lives near a creek that has swelled. Elliott is the only known member of the team or staff closely affected by the flooding, Spurrier said.

The National Weather Services reported that the river gauge at the creek – Gills Creek – was “swept away” over the weekend.

More LSU Football

(Bill Feig)

LSU cracks top five in USA Today/coaches poll for first time since 2012, rises to No. 7 in AP poll

LSU checked in at No. 5 in this week’s USA Today/coaches poll, its highest ranking since Oct. 28, 2012, and moved up to spots to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll.

The Tigers were also No. 5 in the coaches poll that week before a 21-17 loss to No. 1 Alabama at home.

The three teams ahead of the LSU in last week’s coaches poll — No. 5 Ole Miss, No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Notre Dame — all lost Saturday, opening the door for the Tigers (4-0) to move up despite their sluggish performance against Eastern Michigan.

Florida climbed 11 spots to No. 12 in the coaches poll and 14 spots to No. 11 in the AP poll following its 38-10 dismantling of the Rebels. The Tigers and Gators will square off in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 17.


How I Voted (in the AP poll): TCU new No. 1, OU surges into top 5 and Michigan joins top 25

Gary Patterson and TCU routed Charlies Strong and Texas. (AP)

a Gary Patterson and TCU routed Charlies Strong and Texas. (AP)

How I Voted will be a weekly blog in which Ross Dellenger reveals his AP Top 25 voting.

1 TCU (4)

2 Ohio State (1)

3 Michigan State (2)

4 Baylor (7)

5 Oklahoma (13)

6 LSU (10)

7 Utah (11)

8 Florida State (8)

9 Texas A&M (15)

10 Clemson (14)

11 Alabama (12)

12 Northwestern (18)

13 Florida (25)

14 Stanford (19)

15 Notre Dame (6)

16 Iowa (23)

17 UCLA (3)

18 Southern Cal (17)

19 Georgia (5)

20 Ole Miss (9)

21 Michigan (NR)

22 Oklahoma State (21)

23 Oregon (20)

24 Memphis (24)

25 California (NR)

  • Newbies: 25 California, 21 Michigan
  • Dropped out: Mississippi State (22), Wisconsin (16)
  • Others considered: Houston, Toledo, Duke, Western Kentucky
  • Biggest fall (still in poll): Georgia and UCLA (14 spots)
  • Biggest jump: Florida (12 spots)


LSU’s Leonard Fournette reveals players ‘joking and playing’ in practice for Eastern Michigan: ‘We probably underestimated them’

Rabalais: Here’s hoping LSU learned something from Saturday night’s snoozefest against Eastern Michigan

LSU fans show ‘PRAY FOR DEVON 33′ sign in support for injured Southern football player Devon Gales at Tiger Stadium on Saturday

Game Day: LSU vs. Eastern Michigan


Game Day blog is a weekly post published a few hours ahead of LSU’s game. Starting two to three hours before kickoff, we’ll have pregame news and notes available on a separate page, which we’ll link to.

Live updates here with pregame news and notes and in-game action.

The Info

  • Match: No. 9 LSU (3-0) vs. Eastern Michigan (1-3)
  • TDP: 6 p.m.,Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Series Record: 0-0

Two Players To Watch (LSU)

  • QB Brandon Harris: Is this the game we see LSU coaches let Harris loose to chunk it down the field? If this isn’t the game, than no game will be the game. There’s no better opponent to practice and hone the downfield passing against than the struggling Eagles.
  • DE Arden Key: Tashawn Bower may not play a ton. He suffered an ankle injury in the win over Syracuse when an offensive lineman fell on his lower leg. What’s that mean? Arden Key could gobble up his snaps. Key against Eastern Michigan’s quick-passing game might end in misery for the Eagles.

Key Matchups

  • Leonard Fournette vs. Eastern Michigan’s defense: The big question entering the game – how many carries will Fournette get before coach Les Miles yanks him? We’ve got the over/under at 17 carries, but who really knows. Eastern Michigan is the nation’s worst rushing defense, and Fournette is the country’s best rusher.

The Opponent

  • The Sagarin rating: No. 178
  • Best win: at No. 182 Wyoming, 48-29
  • Worst loss: vs. No. 167 Old Dominion, 38-34
  • Sagarin strength of schedule: No. 183
  • Record vs. Sagarin Top 30: 0-0

The Spread

LSU -45

Delly Picks: Hop on the Gator Train, and we’ve got both Bulldogs, too

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler. (

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler. (

Delly Picks is a new blog series posting each Friday. We make picks against the spread for each Southeastern Conference game. Spreads via

Mississippi State (+5.5) at Texas A&M

  • This is not to say the Aggies won’t win, but the Bulldogs will at least keep it within a touchdown. QB Dak Prescott’s been on a roll, and Arizona State and Arkansas – A&M’s top wins so far – appear to stink.
  • Degenerate Gambler’s Note: Aggies are 1-6 against the spread in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record, per

Georgia (-1.5) vs. Alabama

  • The Bulldogs get revenge for losses to the Tide in 2008 and 2012, but don’t expect it to be a blowout. If this line were 3.5 or more, we’d be taking the Tide and the points.
  • Degenerate Gambler’s Note: The last time Alabama was an underdog? The 2009 SEC championship game against Florida. The Tide was a 4.5-point dog and won 32-13.

Auburn (-20) vs. San Jose State

  • It seems silly that we’re struggling to wonder if Auburn – preseason national championship and SEC title picks – could beat San Jose State at home by at least 20. But we did struggle. We still gave the points but, lordy, don’t open the wallet too much for this one.
  • Degenerate Gambler’s Note: The Spartans are 0-6 against the spread in their last six road games.

Vanderbilt (+2.5) at Middle Tennessee State

  • Boy, sure would have been nice to get this game when it opened at 4.5. We’ll settle for the 2.5. The Dores played well against Georgia and Ole Miss on the road. MTSU hung with Illinois. I know – that doesn’t mean much.
  • Degenerate Gambler’s Note: The Dores are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games against C-USA.

Missouri (-3) vs. South Carolina

  • You want to know how much faith I have in this pick? Zero. I have zero faith. Missouri will be starting backup quarterback Drew Lock after a suspension of Maty Mauk. The Gamecocks, though, are not good.
  • Degenerate Gambler’s Note: Tigers are 0-4 against the spread in their last four games overall.

LSU (-45.5) vs. Eastern Michigan

  • The Tigers are paying EMU nearly $1 million for this game ($985,000 to be exact). It’s a good thing because it could get real ugly.
  • Degenerate Gambler’s Note: The Tigers are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games.

Arkansas (+6.5) at Tennessee

  • It’s the “Oh Crap Bowl.” The Vols and the Hogs – both darkhorses to win their respective divisions – have combined to lose their last five games against FBS teams. Give me the points. Because that’s a lot of points.
  • Degenerate Gambler’s Note: The home team is 5-1 against the spread in their last six meetings.

Florida (+7) vs. Ole Miss [Take It To Da Bank]

  • Goodness. The Gators are getting seven – seven! – points at home against an Ole Miss team that Vanderbilt put on the ropes last week? Sheesh. Go Gata.
  • Degenerate Gambler’s Note: Florida is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven games.

*There is no line on the Eastern Kentucky-Kentucky game.

Tracking Our Losses

  • Record: 0-0-0
  • Take It To Da Banks: 0-0

More LSU Football

(Bill Feig)

Times of interest for LSU vs. Eastern Michigan: Kickoff at 6:02 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3

Noon                                     Ticket office opens

8 a.m.                                    LSU SportShop opens

11 a.m.                                  CST’s LSU GameDay Live Pre-Game Show (Tiger One Village at PMAC)

1:30 p.m.                              Tiger One Village opens (front of PMAC)

1:30 p.m.                              L-Club Tailgate (Legends Club at PMAC)

2 p.m.                                    Christian Bold and Michael Liauzza perform in Zatarain’s Tiger One Village

(front of PMAC)

2:30 p.m.                              LSU Tailgate Party (PMAC)

3 p.m.                                    Club level and Suites open at Tiger Stadium

LSU At the Game Programs on sale in and around Tiger Stadium

3:15 p.m.                              LSU Student gates open at Tiger Stadium

3:30 p.m.                              All remaining gates open at Tiger Stadium

3:55 p.m.                              LSU walks down “Victory Hill”

4 p.m.                                    LSU Game Day presented by CST radio show at Zatarain’s Tiger One Village

4:08 p.m.                              Mike VI comes down Victory Hill

4:10 p.m.                              Band comes down Victory Hill

5:27 p.m.                              Mike the Tiger and LSU Cheerleaders field parade

5:40 p.m.                              TAF 20, 25, 30-year member recognition

5:44 p.m.                              Guest Captain Presentation: Zach Mettenberger, David Browndyke, Al Jackson, Tracy Porter

5:46 p.m.                              Golden Band from Tigerland takes the field for pregame performance

5:50 p.m.                              Alma Mater and National Anthem

5:56:30 p.m.                         LSU intro video

5:58 p.m.                              LSU takes the field

5:59 p.m.                              Eastern Michigan takes the field

5:59 p.m.                              Coin toss at midfield

6:02 p.m.                              Kickoff: LSU vs. Eastern Michigan on ESPNU

1st Quarter/2nd Quarter Break:

LSU Family Weekend presentation


  • LSU Band and LSU Alumni Band performs
  • Cheer clinic


LSU bowl projections: Week 4

  • Bill Bender, The Sporting News: Citrus Bowl vs. Michigan (Jan. 1, Orlando)
  • Sam Khan Jr. (SEC blog) and David M. Hale (ACC blog), Peach Bowl vs. Clemson (Dec. 31, Atlanta)
  • College Sugar Bowl vs. Baylor (Jan. 1, New Orleans)
  • Brad Crawford, Sugar Bowl vs. Baylor (Jan. 1, New Orleans)
  • Pete Fiutak, Citrus Bowl vs. Wisconsin (Jan. 1, Orlando)
  • Jason Kirk, Outback Bowl vs. Nebraska (Jan. 1, Tampa)
  • Brett McMurphy, Sugar Bowl vs. TCU (Jan. 1, New Orleans)
  • Jerry Palm, Sugar Bowl vs. Baylor (Jan. 1, New Orleans)
  • Brant Parsons, Orlando Sentinel: Peach Bowl vs. Florida State (Dec. 31, Atlanta)
  • Mark Schlabach, Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma (Jan. 1, New Orleans)
  • Erick Smith, USA Today: Peach Bowl vs. Florida State (Dec. 31, Atlanta)

Pick 6: Q&A with an opposing beat reporter

Eastern Michigan is a long way from Baton Rouge.

To get you properly acquainted with the Eagles, we brought on Robert Hull — an EMU football beat writer at The Eastern Echo — for this week’s Pick 6. You can follow Robert on Twitter @RobertHull124 and read his work here.

1. Obviously, Eastern Michigan is outmatched on almost every front in this game. What can the Eagles do to keep it competitive?

On offense EMU must control the clock. That’s something EMU hasn’t been very good at all year, but they will need to do that to keep the score as low as possible. The offense tries to play fast, but that only works if they can move the ball. EMU also needs to establish a ground game. Darius Jackson is one of the best running backs in the Mid-American Conference, but I don’t think EMU has used him as much as they should. He needs the ball in his hands to keep this game close.

The defense hasn’t stopped anybody (Old Dominion, Wyoming, Ball State or Army) on the ground yet. I would think EMU will try some different things on defense to contain the run as much as possible. Lastly, win the turnover margin… and win it by a lot. It won’t be a competitive game if EMU can’t at least force three turnovers or have some big plays on special teams.

2. Speaking of matchups…Leonard Fournette, who leads the country with 210.3 rushing yards per game, will go up against a rushing defense that surrenders 373 rushing yards per game, which is dead last in the nation. How long of a night do you think it’ll be for the Eagles’ front seven?



It’s been painful to watch this season. Teams that aren’t known for running the ball have destroyed the EMU defense by running the ball, and EMU doesn’t have an answer from what I’ve seen. There’s been times where it’s 3rd and long, and the opposing team will pick up a first down on the ground.

It also doesn’t help that the two best defensive lineman on the team have sat out this season. Pat O’Connor is done for the season with a shoulder injury, and Jeremiah Harris did not play against Army, and is a questionable for the LSU game. It’s going to be a long night for the defense.

3. The Eagles’ offense is in the middle of the pack nationally in scoring, rushing and passing offense. After seeing Syracuse find spurts of success against LSU’s defense last week, can EMU do the same?

From what I’ve seen this season it’s hard to know what EMU offense will show up for this game. Like I said earlier, EMU must establish a run game. There are so many good running backs on the roster and I’m not sure why EMU doesn’t utilize them more. EMU insists on playing fast and try forcing throws and it hasn’t worked. EMU is missing a HUGE piece on offense, as the starting quarterback, Reggie Bell is out with a jaw injury. He produced almost all of EMU’s offense a year ago.

In this game I could see EMU going into a wildcat formation for a few plays, where the running back will get the direct snap. Then short choppy passes, and screen passes to move the ball. Long methodical drives will be the key for EMU in this game.

4. Darius Jackson looks like a big, physical running back. He averages more than 100 yards a game, but how likely is he to break the century mark against the Tigers’ defensive front?

Kendell Beckwith is poised for a breakout season. (Travis Spradling)

Kendell Beckwith is poised for a breakout season. (Travis Spradling)

I could see Darius Jackson playing on Sundays; he is that good. I think he is the best option in this game for EMU to have any chance. There aren’t many teams that have had an easy time taking him down; he’s plowed over tackles and it takes much more than an arm tackle to bring him down. He could definitely run for 100+ yards, but the ball has to be given to him in order for that to happen, obviously.

5. Freshman Eddie Daugherty is EMU’s leading receiver with 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Standing at only 5-foot-7, 157 pounds, will he be able to create separation from LSU’s physical defensive backs?

Daugherty is an outstanding route runner, and finds holes in the secondary where the ball can come his way. This will be much more of a challenge with LSU, but I do think he can create enough space to make a catch. Daugherty has also been more of a long ball receiver, where he’ll catch a ball 30 yards down field and then be elusive enough to go for more yards. Dustin Creel and Kris Strange are also very good receivers that may match up a little better with the LSU secondary.

6. The Eagles are 13th in the country with 42.14 net yards per punt, and sophomore punter Austin Barnes averages 47 yards per attempt. Can EMU turn that into an advantage and play field position against LSU?

Austin Barnes is one of the best punters in the country. He has been phenomenal this year. But EMU hasn’t been able to use the field position to its advantage much this season. What good is pinning the opposing offense on its own 5-yard line if the defense can’t stop anybody?

The EMU special teams has been fairly strong this year. Not many teams have been able to return punts or kickoffs on EMU this season. We’ve only seen one kickoff be returned out of the end zone this year, and most punts go over the return-man’s head.


Wednesdays with Les: Miles talks Fournette speculation, injuries and penalties

LSU coach Les Miles, on Wednesdays during game weeks, speaks publicly three different times. Follow his comments here throughout the day. 

Radio show

  • High praise: Early Wednesday morning, former Heisman running back Herschel Walker told TMZ Sports he believes sophomore RB Leonard Fournette is better than he was when he attended Georgia. “I think that is a tremendous compliment that Herschel Walker would pay to him,” Miles said. “Only he could do it, a guy of that magnitude.” Miles went on to call Fournette “unspoiled” and a “sincere, hard-working teammate.”
  • Mills update: Injured DB Jalen Mills’ status is unchanged from last week. Miles said the senior is still running and cutting following an ankle injury he suffered during practice Aug. 19. Any chance of an official return date? “We’re gonna put a date on it here pretty quick,” he said. “I don’t know exactly how far away we would be. It would be wrong to guess.”


  • Insurance policy: Miles did not say whether Fournette has taken out an insurance policy in case he gets injured before being eligible for the NFL. “We’ve had some lengthy talks about insurance. I don’t currently know the status,” he said. “There’s a piece in place, but I don’t know.” The coach also offered a lengthy response to those calling for Fournette to sit out his junior season to preserve his health.AX039_6F16_9

“Think about if you bypassed some part of your college career anywhere, any place, and you have an opportunity to have impact on your team and win one game. You don’t realize how far tomorrow is in anything. I don’t know how you give up what is a pretty sure today for a real nice, very probable speculative future. We’ve always felt this way: if I can do just one thing that would be so noteworthy, ultimately that would be the key piece. You’d better enjoy your life where you’re at as opposed to always getting to the next step. I always used to be around coaches that constantly job-hunted They couldn’t enjoy where they were at. They were always on the phone, kinda texting on the side or making calls. I just always enjoyed where I was at. I absolutely enjoyed it. I don’t know how you don’t or how anybody could get caught up in that tripe.”

  • Rules are rules: Fournette has also sparked a debate about whether the NFL should change its policies to allow players to enter the draft before completing three years of college. When asked about the rules, Miles didn’t give a definitive answer but said “everything has its time and place.”

“I don’t know what’s fair, to be honest with you. It used to be that college was the reason you played football, so you could go to college. Now it’s not so you can go to college. It’s so you can go to college and create a brand that will help you go to the next level. I think that’s a very quality view, but it’s hard for me to go by that time you have with your teammates for your school, the old ideals of why college football is so great. I’d hate to forgo college football. But what does college do? It’s a completely different scenario. It changes the landscape very significantly if it’s like basketball, one-and-done. How do you tell a guy, ‘Hey, go to class?’ It carries no weight. We’ve always put a premium on education. We really want our guys to come out of here with a great degree.”

  • Injury update: Miles said junior DE Tashawn Bower took snaps at practice Wednesday and should be able to play against Eastern
    Tashawn Bower during the Syracuse game. (AP)

    Tashawn Bower during the Syracuse game. (AP)

    Michigan after suffering a lower leg injury vs. Syracuse last week. Senior TE Dillon Gordon is still day-to-day with an Achilles injury, but Miles said he’s running on a treadmill. Freshman DE Isaiah Washington, who injured his hand during fall camp, hasn’t seen a snap yet, but that might change Saturday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he played in the game,” Miles said.

  • Fixing mistakes: Miles said he and his players went over all 14 penalties from last week’s win against Syracuse. “I think our team recognizes that to have the opportunity to do the things we wanna do, we have to get better at that. …The guys who took the discredit for the penalties did so in front of their team.”
  • Michigan men: Miles, a former player and assistant coach at Michigan, said the school shares a special relationship with Eastern Michigan, the Tigers’ opponent this week. “It is legitimately three miles (away), maybe five, tops. I can remember taking State Street to Washington and Washington right down to Ypsilanti. And right off to your left, plain as day, is Eastern Michigan. Good school, quality education. …There’s a very nice environment between the two schools.”

SEC teleconference

  • Fournette, considered by many to be the Heisman Trophy frontrunner, was not made available to the local media this week.  Miles said the decision was matter of letting Fournette enjoy his college experience, and he thinks “the approach we have for him is quality.”



“You wanna take care of a guy like Leonard Fournette. Not necessarily on the field, but also off the field. You wanna make sure he handles the regimen of having to speak to the press Monday-Friday, so we canceled some of those. We just want Leonard to go to class, go to football, enjoy a smattering of media opportunities, and play ball on Saturdays. We want him to have fun, have fun with his college.

  • Some are calling for Fournette to sit out his junior season to preserve his already sky-high NFL draft stock. Miles was asked to give his response to those who would claim the star running back shouldn’t play this Saturday against Eastern Michigan, a game in which the Tigers are heavily favored.

“The answer is this: Any time that you line up on a football field, you have 11 guys that wanna play for victory. You’re going to have to be the difference between being better than your opponent in your play. And I’ve never seen a game won or decided before you arrive. If that’s the case, I just want you to know we’ll call our starting lineup much differently. But if we’re going to line up and decide and the clock starts with 0 for them and 0 for us, then we’re going to have to play and play well. The difference then would be the play of the Tigers. We would invite and insist on inviting all the best to the field.”

  • Miles reiterated that keeping Fournette fresh will factor into his number of carries every week.  “As long as he’s playing fresh with fresh legs, we feel like calling his number is a very positive thing to do in many instances for many reasons,” the coach said.

“There’s so many things that are seen through the course of a year. So many characteristics are important that are shown in your best games. If we look forward to playing a quality opportunity for Leonard to get a big number of carries, we wanna keep him fresh. We have good backs.  …We feel like getting him through the season, getting him to the key contest, certainly this Saturday and thereafter, that allow us the opportunity for him to do the things he’s capable of doing for our team, he might show what would be a prospective employee in the NFL.”